Virginia’s Heat Wave May Have Broken, But Its Politicians Are Burning Hotter Than Ever

The heat wave that gripped Virginia may have broken, but three recent stories show the members of the commonwealth’s political class are burning hotter than ever.

On the front burner: Virginia Democrats are in a lather about the possibility (not certainty) President Trump may take part in next week’s 400th anniversary celebration of representative government in Virginia in Jamestown.

House and Senate Democratic leaders said they wouldn’t attend if Trump was there and suggested the nonprofit Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation “send him back.” That’ll learn ‘im. And Democratic voters will love it too — the resistance lives! Don’t forget to vote Nov. 5!

It was such an obvious winner that former governor Terry McAuliffe (D) jumped in, tweeting:

“Racists and white nationalists have no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Go home, @realDonaldTrump.”

But then we learned Gov. Ralph Northam (D), House Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) signed the letter inviting Trump back in August.

And several high-profile Democrats were attending regardless of whether Trump was there.

One of the attendees, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D), wrote a post on Medium explaining his decision to attend (hint: it has nothing to do with Donald Trump and plenty to do with Fairfax):

I intend to honor … our proud achievements as a representative democracy and the achievements of the enslaved African-Americans and their descendants who have contributed mightily to Virginia’s success. That is more important than the frenzied and fickle politics of the moment.

Indeed, it is. One might have thought other Virginia Democrats would have grasped the larger issues at play in this commemoration. Apparently not, and that’s a huge unforced error.

But political errors are always nonpartisan, so it was inevitable Virginia Republicans would stumble over something on their way to Election Day.

For a while, it seemed the bizarre ousting of 97th District Del. Chris Peace would take top honors. But it appears the 30th House District and its on-again off-again delegate, Nick Freitas, is coming up fast along the rail.

For those who haven’t followed the Freitas campaign, it begins with a paperwork stumble that threatened to keep the incumbent off the ballot.

That stumble turned out to include a head-over-heels tumble when it became clear Freitas failed to file additional paperwork. Then Freitas withdrew his candidacy, seeming to leave the GOP-friendly district with only a Democrat, Ann Ridgeway, on the November ballot.

Team Freitas and the local GOP committee are trying again, declaring that he is running and could he please be on the ballot now?

The State Board of Elections must now decide whether any of this is allowed — and, eventually, a judge may have to settle the matter.

No matter. If all goes against him, Team Freitas is perfectly willing to fritter away huge amounts of money running a write-in campaign for the part-time job.

Regardless of how his ballot status is resolved, this bungling won’t be forgotten — and could dent any effort the once-and-future GOP candidate may mount for higher office.

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